Travelling abroad with my dog seemed like a pipe dream, something I’d say to people easily, but really wasn’t sure of logistically how I’d do it. Alas, I’m here typing as I sit in my tent in Chamonix with my four-legged friend sat beside me. I’ve managed to take my dog abroad and it was actually far easier than we anticipated, so here are my key things you need to do.
We decided to start things off for Winnie’s first trip abroad with taking the Eurotunnel from UK to France. It’s a long drive from the Midlands, but we felt this would be a great starter for our future travels with our dog.
First things first, have you micro-chipped your dog? We got Winnie micro chipped when we first got her, and many people do with their pets, but if you haven’t then you must. This is a requirement in taking your dog abroad and will be shown in your pet passport.
Getting your pet passport
Goes without saying that your pet needs a passport. We need a passport, they need a passport – simple. We visited our local vets, I called before explained we wanted to go to France, and required a passport for our dog. They had our dog’s vaccination history and were able to determine what injections she needed prior to having the passport signed off by the vet. We’re at Vets For Pets and they made the process super easy, I want to say it was around £150.
What is required for one? Your pooch will need an up to date rabies shot (these last 3 years and so does your pet passport), and to be treated for tapeworm. It’s important to note a pet passport along with vaccinations need to be done at least 3 weeks before you travel.
Check how they travel
Some countries are different with how your dog needs to travel, that could be that they’re required to travel in a crate. I strongly advice visiting the country you’ll be visitings local website. For our first trip we decided on simply crossing from England to France via the Eurotunnel, in all honesty I wanted to check she could deal with the amount of travelling needed before even considering air travel.
Find a vet nearby
Whether it’s to simply get the correct vaccination on the way home, or as an emergency option if anything were to happen, seek out the local vets details before you go. Fingers crossed your dog won’t need medical attention for anything other than their leaving medication, but trust me, it’s better to be safe.
Keep the passport safe
That goes without saying for humans, but put your pet passport with your own. We had our checked, so it is important to treat your dog’s passport as safely as yours.
Travelling home with you dog
Whilst nobody likes to think about travelling home, your pet requires some help prior to leaving. Your dog will need their worming treatment done by a vet. Ideally, I’d suggest researching before you leave, so that you can visit the vets closest to you and book your dog in.
Remember your dog needs their tapeworm treatment no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours before you enter the UK. Although I will add that we were told by the French vet it needs to be 48 hours now, either way I’d say the earliest you can medicate your dog, do. They will get checked, so don’t delay in getting it booked in prior if possible.
Pet check in at the Eurotunnel
I can’t speak for the system at an airport but certainly for the Eurotunnel we had to go to a specific pet check in area. Word of warning, there was one person on the desk and I could see 6 people all waiting to get their animals checked in. You just don’t know how long it will take, so I’d suggest going on the side of caution and giving yourself plenty of time.
Do you know your dog? Because you’ll get asked it. We had someone in front of us who had a cage of puppies that were being checked in, and she had no idea after their micro chip was scanned which was which. It was painful to watch, because they kept putting one puppy back, to bring out another, but getting mixed up which they’d taken out already! So when I say do you know your dog, I mean it. They are tough in there, so you need to be handing the pet passport over with their vaccinations listed and have their microchip scanned.
Whilst getting your passport is important, when travelling with a pet you really do need to make them feel comfortable. We put a dog bed in the back of the car, got a dog travel safety seat belt, then made sure we planned stops for water, toilet, food and leg stretching breaks. Especially if your dog is new to travel, they’re probably going to be a bit confused or anxious by what is happening, so regular reassurance is very important.
Happy pet travels
Winnie absolutely loved Chamonix and actually travelled extremely well. So if you’re planning a long drive, I’d suggest getting your dog used to car travel first, Winnie had been on a few long journeys prior to our Eurotunnel trip, and I think that helped significantly. With a bit research and forward planning you can definitely enjoy a great trip with you dog abroad. Happy travels!